Beacon Pointe Wealth Advisors buys RIA in Dallas area

Ironmark Advisors, which has $340 million of assets, sought scale and resources to compete for clients

Oct 3, 2016 @ 10:59 am

By Christine Idzelis

Beacon Pointe Wealth Advisors has purchased Ironmark Advisors, a registered investment adviser with $340 million in assets under management.

Beacon Pointe, which is based in Newport Beach, Calif. with offices in Boston and Scottsdale, Ariz., said Monday the acquisition increases its AUM to about $2 billion, while creating a hub in the Dallas area where Ironmark is located.

“Dallas is a dynamic-growing area with a lot of wealth," Matt Cooper, president of Beacon Pointe Wealth, said in a phone interview. The firm targets RIAs that have $100 million to $500 million of assets and are looking for support in such areas as compliance, marketing and social media, he said.

Plano, Texas-based Ironmark was co-founded in 2006 by Bo Ward and Eric Witte, who had previously worked as financial advisers at American Express. The deal gives them a competitive edge in a highly fragmented RIA industry that's been consolidating at a strong pace over the past couple of years.

“Competition for clients and talent will only increase in the coming years,” Mr. Witte said in Monday's statement on the merger. “Joining Beacon Pointe gives us the scale and resources to compete and allows us to best serve our clients and grow our business both organically and inorganically.”

Under Beacon Pointe's ownership, the firm will become part of Fidelity's RIA referral program, according to Mr. Witte. “There isn't an adviser that we know that doesn't struggle with marketing in some way or fashion,” he said in a phone interview. “Having a network of Fidelity representatives that can help tell our story will be a great benefit for our growth plan.”

Ironmark will now be able to spend more time on financial planning for its clients, as the acquisition will free the firm from back office matters tied to running a business, according to Mr. Witte. Beacon Pointe will help ease increasing compliance burdens, including the Labor Department's new fiduciary rule that takes effect next year, he said. Clients will also benefit from the negotiating power that Beacon has with asset managers to lower fees, he added, helping the firm be "good stewards" of their wealth.

Last year, Beacon Pointe Wealth expanded its financial planning business to the East Coast with the purchase of TPW Financial, a Boston-based firm that managed about $300 million of assets at the time.

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